The Information Lab 2014-09-29T12:08:08Z Chris Love <![CDATA[Understanding Tableau Table Calculations using INDEX() and SIZE() – Part 1]]> 2014-09-29T12:08:08Z 2014-09-29T12:08:08Z Table calculations are important in Tableau, they help […]

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Table calculations are important in Tableau, they help you to do more with your visualisations by providing calculations that bring in more data than is just in the current row. There are plenty of calculations that fit in this category, from TOTAL() through FIRST(), but I’ll wager one of the most under-used in SIZE(). This is in juxtaposition to the fact this was one of the calculations that showed up most in the Jedi sessions at the Tableau Conference in Seattle this month. With it’s partner INDEX() – which is very widely know and used among the advanced User community – you can do great things.

So SIZE() does matter! I plan to use the story points in the below workbook to describe what it does and how anyone, newbies through to Experts, can use it to improve their visualisations. It can also be a great way to learn about the fundamentals of table calculations, and a great way to be introduced to SIZE()’s friends: INDEX() and FIRST().

This is a first post to a wider post to show some great use cases for SIZE() and INDEX() – come back on Wednesday to see the second installment.

Click on the image below to view the Story.

Click to see dashboard

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Emma Whyte <![CDATA[Tableau Date Parameters (what are they good for?)]]> 2014-09-24T14:38:41Z 2014-09-26T09:30:47Z I’m on a personal quest at the moment to find coo […]

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I’m on a personal quest at the moment to find cool things about functions of Tableau that I might not use as much as others. Date parameters are just one example. I know that they exist, I kind of know what I can use them for, but maybe I don’t often get chance to use them, or use an alternative to them (date quick filters anyone?).

In this post I’m going to show you four uses for date parameters. Then I’ll let you decide what they’re good for.

Creating Start and End Date Filters across Multiple Data Sources

In this scenario we have two data sources both with different date fields. We want to display charts from both data sources on one dashboard. If we use a quick filter on date we would have to display two date filters on our dashboard – one for each data source. However, by using the date parameter option we could have one control for both chart types. Here’s how it’s done:

I’ve connected up to both the Superstore Sales subset and the Coffee Chain sources. Then we create two parameters: one for start date; one for end date. Use the images below as a guide:

start date

Start Date

end date

end date

Then we use these parameters in a calculated field based on our date:


date filter

This creates a boolean true or false. Place this on the filter shelf and select ‘true’ to display only dates within the start and end date parameter selections.


date filter is true

Replicate this in the Coffee Chain data source replacing Order Date with Date. I created sales over time for each data source.

date filter results

Now if we place these on to a dashboard we only need to show the start and end date parameter controls and both charts will change.


sales dashboard

Using Date Parameters within Calculations

You can also use the start and end date parameters within calculated fields. This can be useful if you don’t want to add the true/false filter we created on to the filter shelf. But instead want to do the filtering within the calculation.


date parameter calc

This calculation will now give you the sales for records within the start and end date. You haven’t got the start and end date on the filter shelf, so if you still wanted to display Sales for the entire dataset, you could do.

date calc example

Dynamic Date Axis on a chart using Date Parameters

Here’s an interesting query I was given recently: If my date ranger is greater than one year, then I want my date axis to be quarterly. However, if my date range is less than one year then I want the axis to show months. Here’s how I did it:

Created a calculated field using some nifty date functions DATEDIFF() and DATETRUNC().

axis date

Now if I set my parameter start date and end date to longer than 12 months my date parts are quarters:



And if I set it to less than 12 months apart we get months:

monthly dates

You could potentially go even further and go down to smaller levels: if the date difference is less than a month, show week;less than a week, show days. The only thing you have to do is make sure that the date part of the pill in the view is set to the LOWEST date level you are using (months for months, weeks for weeks etc).

Using Date Parameters in Custom SQL:

Here’s another use for our start and end date parameters. Say I only want to bring back data within my start and end dates. Well then we can use our date parameters in Tableau’s custom SQL connection:

custom sql

Now, if our start or end date parameters change, so will our data.

custom sql final

I’m sure there are many other great uses for date parameters out there. If you have used any, feel free to leave a comment below. We love hearing about cool things you’ve done with Tableau.

Download the workbook with all the examples.

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Chris Raby <![CDATA[Premier League Table – Visualised in Tableau]]> 2014-09-23T19:56:08Z 2014-09-23T19:23:54Z There are a number of articles in the public domain tha […]

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There are a number of articles in the public domain that provide a ‘starter kit’ for learning to use Tableau. They include the excellent 20 Days to Tableau Success by Lari McEdward.  I can highly recommend these approaches but I find there is one extra step that really helps to take my learning forward. That step is to start with nothing but an idea and run with it.

It means tracking down the data and starting with a blank screen but this is how you discover the power of the Tableau on-line resources and community. These resources then start to gel with the learning processes that you’ve already been through. Finally, you get the reward of seeing what you first envisaged beginning to appear before you

Many of you get to go through this process in your day to day role with Tableau. However the nature of that work may cause you to focus more on one particular area within Tableau. This certainly applies in my role. So following an idea takes me out my comfort zone and into new areas of learning, which brings me back to the title of this blog.  The idea that I ran with was to see if it was possible to enhance an iconic table of data using Tableau. There aren’t many more iconic tables of data than the 100+ year old First Division/Premier League Table.   The improvements that I’m looking to introduce by visualising the data are covered in more detail under the Overview tab in the dashboard itself.

You can click on the image below to go directly to the dashboard, which also includes instructions for use. You can also see a review of my own personal learning further down this blog post. It’s not in-depth review but feel free to get in touch if there are any areas of interest. I hope you like it.


Premier League 2


Custom Colours

I have to own up to augmenting my design skill by borrowing colour themes from across the web. I did this using a free on-line colour picking tool that gave me the RGB codes. I then saved these in the ‘Preferences’ folder in My Tableau Repository, which is something that’s very easy to Google.

Precision Formatting

I used the positioning and height/width co-ordinates more than I have done in previous Dashboards. These are fairly easy to use once you get used to them and give nice symmetrical finish to the Dashboard.

Unique Ranking Table Calculation

I used Unique Ranking to sort the teams into their correct positions based on points, goals difference and goals for. With Unique Ranking there is the opportunity to further sort members that have identical values. I actually avoided creating a more complex formula here by creating a little workaround (spot it if you can) but I intend to back and have a go at creating the correct formula. For the Position Change view I had to calculate along Club by Match Number.

Running Sum Table Calculation

I had to use the Running Sum Table Calculation because I had already used the Sum function on my data (that workaround I mentioned) and to aggregate data that has already been aggregated in Tableau a Table Calculation is required.

Combined Reference Lines & Band

I hadn’t been particularly aware that it was possible have multiple reference lines and bands on a single mark (although the box plot view should have been a clue). This worked very well for goals for, against and difference and along with points and games played meant that there were effectively five measures on a single mark.

Multiple Members in a Tooltip

This applied to the Scatter Plot used for Goals/Assists. It was probably the most difficult piece for me. My approach was to create a calculated field that converted each unique goal/assist co-ordinate into a string field i.e. 1,0/0,1/2,0/0,2 etc. I then created another calculated field which used the Size function to to take the size of the partition at each co-ordinate. The final calculated field uses a Lookup and If statement to test for the number of members and display in the tooltip. The three calculated fields are XY Unique, Number of Marks at same XY and IDs at Point.

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Craig Bloodworth <![CDATA[Getting into the Undocumented Tableau Server API]]> 2014-09-17T15:37:15Z 2014-09-10T22:26:20Z Before we start to take a look at getting into the Tabl […]

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Before we start to take a look at getting into the Tableau Server API let’s take a look at what’s possible…

Quick Access to your Workbooks & Data Sources

Do you use Google Chrome & love Tableau Server, Public and/or Online? You can go get the Google Chrome Extension for Tableau Server

Google Chrome Extension for Tableau Server

Publish Data Directly from Alteryx

Have Alteryx Designer? Want to get your data directly into Tableau Server from your module’s workflow? You’re going to want our Alteryx Tools for Tableau

Alteryx Tools for Tableau

How to Get Started

So how’s it best to get started? First of all download Fiddler, run it and start to interact Tableau Desktop or Tabcmd with Tableau Server. Make a interaction, for instance sign in to Tableau Server from Tableau Desktop, and take a look at what’s been captured by Tableau Server.

Server Authentication

There are a number of ways to authenticate pragmatically with Tableau Server, each with varying difficulty

[Easy] Use the browser

When you login to your Tableau Server through the portal Tableau creates an authentication cookie on your local machine which can be used in subsequent calls. Therefore if you first login as usual to your server you can then use your browser to read from the API.

[Easy] URL tags

It is possible to just add your username and password to your server URL. Simply append the following to your server URL:


Substituting the … for your username and password.

Beware though this will send your password in free text across your network and at worse across the internet.

[Difficult] Encrypt the password with RSA

The Tableau Server portal by default encrypts your password between the login form in the local web browser and the server itself. In order to encrypt the password for API authentication you’ll need a few things. First of all call /auth.xml on your Tableau Server and grab the modulus, exponent & authenticity_token from the resulting XML as well as the workgroup_session_id, now known as the cookie, from the call’s header. You’ll see all this information coming through in Fiddler while testing out your method.

Next you’ll need to actually do the encryption. Tableau Server uses javascript to do this, the code you’ll need can be copied from here. At the base of the code you’ll see places to insert the modulus, exponent and password to be encrypted. The result will be the encrypted password.

Finally your code will need to POST all this information to /auth/login.xml on the Tableau Server with the cookie as the header and cypted, authenticity_token & username in the payload with ‘crypted’ being the encrypted password.

The resulting XML will again have a workgroup_session_id in the call’s header which is appended to the end of following string ‘username=;’ to create the final session cookie. That cookie should then be placed in the header of all subsequent calls you make to the Tableau Server.

What Can You Do?

One of the best places to look at possible calls, other than what you can capture through Fiddler, is the /auth.xml page on your Tableau Server.

For instance to list all the views on your sever:

You’ll need to call /views?format=xml&all=true
Replacing %s with a query string returns in XML all views & datasources which match the query string given.
Finally my favourite…
…will download a datasource from the Tableau Server without the attached TDE. This is fantastic if you want to make small changes to your datasource but making it local downloads a large amount of data.

Tell us what you get up to

We’d love to hear what you end up creating from the Tableau Server API. Please either post a comment or send us an email

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Carl Allchin <![CDATA[The Future of Tableau from DATA14]]> 2014-09-10T17:41:04Z 2014-09-10T14:41:59Z Not Just a Regular Tech Conference 5,500 customers, a b […]

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Not Just a Regular Tech Conference

5,500 customers, a bunch of Zen Master and goodness knows who else are here. This conference feels significantly bigger than even last year. If you have never been to a Tableau conference then I really can’t get over the collective buzz that is generated. It feels like a sports event when the home team is about to win the championship. That’s crazy for a tech conference…

Christian Chabot, Tableau’s CEO, starts by highlighting the great work (and breadth) of the Tableau community that is shared on the web wherever you go. Matt Francis, Ramon Martinez, Ryan Robatile and Kelly Martin’s work is all shared on the big screen.

The next big strides in the technical revolution is to ‘expand your creative potential’ of everyone. Adobe, Computer Aided Design and now other creative tools are allowing everyone to explore and create great design.

‘Data Analysis is a creative process’ – most important role in the modern business strategy

Analysts and artists are both on a mission to create something new and explore. Same human characteristics are used in both.

To create a tool that allows for a great creative experience takes four things:
1. Encourage experimentation – fast prototyping needed in any innovation process. Taking film out of cameras allows people to explore images and the quality of photos has risen and improved as a subject area.
2. Speed – To iterate, you need things to be able to iterate in front of your eyes. Tableau working on performance a lot
3. Expressiveness – Great artists don’t use Paint by Numbers art sheets. Business has been tied / constrained Business Intelligence solutions. Tableau creating a canvas.
4. Control – giving people control. Something is in your mind’s eye, you need to be able to get it out. Di Vinci didn’t do his work by “filling out a painting request form”.

Tableau’s customer base has expanded from 200 in 2004, to 2,000 customers 2008, and 20,000 customer by 2014. To match that growth Tableau expects to spend as much in R&D over the next 2 years as it has its entire lifetime!

Where Tableau Development is Going

7 areas for this development are:
1. Visual Analytics
2. Performance
3. Data Prep
4. Storytelling
5. Enterprise
6. Cloud
7. Mobile

This breaks down as follows

1. Visual Analytics

Now double click and type in to the column or row shelf instead of dragging pills. This is done like creating a calculate field. You can double click on a pill (existing data item) and you can run complex calculations too. You can drop blended data sources in to those calculations. Called “Freeform Calculations”. You can drag the new fields and drop it in the dimension or measures list to create the data item.

New calculation editor is a lot more simplistic. Edit the calculated field and can interact with the view at the same time. You can drag in data from the dimension and measure lists.

There is a new side pane too – the Analytics pane. Where you currently have data lists, you can flick to analytical functions and trends.

Reference lines update with the data you are selecting on screen.

Tableau calculations – can be hard so Tableau making them easier. Views respond immediately as you flick between table calcs. Tableau highlights what is being computed.

Geographic search now built in to Tableau – so you can flick between countries, states, postcodes – just type it in and the map filters (all built in to the long / lat)

New selection tool so you can Lasso, select circular areas etc to select really what you want. Very cool and is going to be great on scatterplots!

2. Performance

Tableau can go anywhere with data in very many ways – makes performance a lot harder

Tooltip respond instantly as you scroll round the visualization. This is still the same Viz engine bought in in version 8.0.

8.3 is showing performance improvements of x2-4 times faster. Taking advantage of multi-core processing that is now available in most machines. Using more parallel processing is changing response times to seconds rather than minutes.

Doing more in the browser is continually requested. Tooltips are instant and maps panes appear seamlessly during panning.

Analytics at scale – persistent query caching – shared across all nodes on the server and all processors.

3. Data Preparation

In the data load window, you can now ‘Split’ one data column in to it’s parts. Split is now available when working in the visualization window too.

Poorly formatted Excel sheets are now going to be easier to clean up. Just connect and Tableau is now becoming smarter to clean those excel files. Transposing data through ‘Unpivot’ in the data load window (big reception for this). Handling survey data from agencies is going to be a lot easier

Web Services data – REST API and JSON – “Web Data Connector” now possible

4. Storytelling

“The next chapter in storypoints”

View thumbnails are produced so you know what you want to drag in to the Storyboard on your list of worksheets and dashboards.

You can now format the storypoints navigator – background colour, font, style (numbers instead of word descriptions), size and position.

5. Enterprise

See Enterprise deployments as mission critical.

Scalable, Resilient and Easy to Manage – are the main aims

Secure – Kerberos, smart cards and permissions

Extensible – API improvements – Javscript, Data Extract and REST API. Publish content and assign permissions through the APIs to come.

Thumbnails of the workbooks, instant search on the server browser and all appears instantly

You can look at the Data Sources of the workbook on the details in the server (I love this little touch!)

New heatmaps for the permissions in the server so easier to see what is allowed for

6. Cloud

Tableau Online allows On Premise as well as Cloud data storage and then deploy to mobile

Tableau Online allows a live-to-live cloud base querying and connection

Tableau Data Sync – allows Tableau Online to control On Premise feeds in a secure way.

Tableau Online can embed directly in to SalesForce

7. Mobile

App performance speed increased as you scroll through the thumbnails of the viz.

Now allowing for calculations in mobile and web editing for the first time – this will be huge

Swipe through the visualizations to switch between them

Offline snapshots captured at your settings down to every 15 minutes

New tool!! – Project Elastic

From a csv attachment – you can open it in “Project Elastic” and it creates a basic visualization for you. Click and drag to filter the data. Switch categories (dimensions) by sliding your finger across the dimension title. You can change the aggregation by sliding up on measure name.

Email the new image in two taps

Date hierarchy explored by stretching the time series – stretch an individual record to see the underlying data – genius!

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Emma Whyte <![CDATA[NSS Results 2014 visualised in Tableau]]> 2014-09-03T10:44:24Z 2014-09-03T10:44:24Z I recently had a request for the 2014 results of the Na […]

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I recently had a request for the 2014 results of the National Student Survey as an update to the 2008-2013 NSS dataset I published and viz I created earlier this year.


Well here it is!

NSS 2014

Click here to see the updated viz


Click here for the 2014 dataset as a Tableau Data Extract


Click here for the combined 2008-2014 dataset as a Tableau Data Extract

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Craig Bloodworth <![CDATA[On the Road with Tableau 8.2]]> 2014-09-02T07:14:26Z 2014-09-01T19:58:12Z Over the next 5 weeks we’ll be on the road with Tableau […]

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Over the next 5 weeks we’ll be on the road with Tableau taking 8.2 across the EU. The tour starts off in Copenhagen before heading to Munich, followed by London, Amsterdam and Dublin finishing in the French capital of Paris.

Click here to book your place, but before you do find out who you’re going to meet…

Who can I talk to?

Copenhagen – 2 September 2014

Jonathan MacDonald (300 x 300)Jonathan MacDonald
Jonathan’s just spent 6 months helping UBS set up their Tableau Centre of Excellence. Want to know about getting Tableau into the enterprise? He’s your man!

Matthew Reeve (300 x 300)Matthew Reeve
Do you have Tableau Server? Want to speak to the first person in EMEA to pass the Tableau Server Certified Professional exam? Matthew never shies away from a challenging network environment, throw your best server config questions at him.

Munich – 4 September 2014

Jonathan MacDonald (300 x 300)Jonathan MacDonald
What’s that, you want to hear more about being in the centre of excellence? Catch Jonathan again in Munich, although go easy on him…the German team may have taken him out the night before.

GB101 - Venice May 2014Goetz Boue
Did you know we have a German office? Well you do now! Goetz is a dedicated Tableau user and loves to create those business critical dashboards that will become the cornerstone of your Tableau deployment.

Michael Solvie
Micheal is a genius! Quite literally one of the smartest Tableau users around. If you think there’s problem that can’t be fixed in Tableau put it to him, he won’t rest until it’s sorted.

London – 16 September 2014

Robin Kennedy
Robin Kennedy
It’s scary when somebody comes along who truly understands how to handle data end to end from loading the data warehouse to drawing stunning visuals, and Robin is plenty scary (in what he can achieve of course, he’s really very nice!)

Chris Love
Chris Love
Want to know the true power of Alteryx and Tableau? How about asking the opinion of the Alteryx Grand Prix Champion. After successfully defending his title in San Diego this year Chris is leading the Alteryx charge in the UK enabling people to push their data further than ever before.

Amsterdam – 23 September 2014

Carl Allchin
Carl Allchin
Did somebody mention consumer analysis? A recent Info Lab recruit Carl cut his Tableau teeth profiling customers for one of the world’s biggest banks and credit card providers.

Emma Whyte
Emma Whyte
Many would agree that data doesn’t come much tougher than that generated by surveys…Emma doesn’t think so. Her Alteryx modules cut through thousands of columns like a hot knife through butter shaping survey results into super powerful & informative Tableau dashboards.

Dublin – 24 September 2014

Carl Allchin
Carl Allchin
Not interested in talking customer profiling with Carl? How does US Basketball take your fancy? In Seattle he’s presenting at the Tableau Public Fanalytics meet up and nothing would please him more than to show you one or more of his data driven creations.

Andrew Pick
Andrew Pick
A long time embed at Unilever, Andrew is a dab hand at all things consumer analysis. His creations don’t just inform they wow with elegance & creativity driven from Alteryx modules grabbing and transforming data from all sources.

Paris – 2 October 2014

Matthew Reeve (300 x 300)
Matthew Reeve
Thought you’d missed your chance to pick the brain of the Tableau Server guru? You can ask in English or in German, French he’s a little rusty at but we can guarantee Matthew will still manage to send you away full of all the config knowledge you’ll ever need.

What should I ask them?

Everything about 8.2 of course! We’ve been playing with 8.2 since its beta release and can’t wait to describe our excitement over the new drag & drop connection experience or exchange tips & tricks for getting in to storypoints.

If you’ve been watching the Tableau community over the past year you’ll have seen chatter around Alteryx increase every day and as an Alteryx Premier Partner we’re more than welcome to show you what the fuss is all about. We’ve also been working on some tools to help with the integration of Alteryx into your Tableau environment and would love to give you a quick demo.

Finally every one of our employees is a not only a Tableau jedi but passionate about helping people make sense of data. We want you to succeed with Tableau, it’s the reason we do what we do. If you’ve got a problem you’d like solving, a table calc got you down or you just can’t figure the best way to structure your data…ASK! We’d love to help you on your way.

Do you know what’s coming in version 9?

For those before the Tableau Customer Conference in Seattle (Copenhagen & Munich) sorry, we can never predict what the devs on stage are going to reveal. London onwards? We’d be happy to share with you everything we’ve learned and how we see it impacting your Tableau journey going forward.

How can I engage with you after the event?

Get in touch! or if you’ve got a business card from one of our team give them a call. We all share the collective responsibility of Tableau training, implementation, support and dashboard design and are more than happy to discuss how we can help you specifically.

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Craig Bloodworth <![CDATA[Mapping UK Airspace]]> 2014-08-29T07:07:36Z 2014-08-29T07:07:36Z As somebody who’s always fascinated by the possibilitie […]

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As somebody who’s always fascinated by the possibilities & potential of combining mapping and data visualisation knowing somebody who has some fun geo-data leads to some interesting discussions. Knowing somebody who works for the popular European airline Easyjet leads to hours spent thinking of all the possibilities.

In one of our more recent discussions Paul Chapman told me:

“Britain has the most crowded airspace in Europe. In July there are typically 30,000 which overfly European airspace with one in four of these flying over the UK. The total distance flown by these aircraft is 25 million nautical miles, enough to go to the moon and back 104 times or around the Earth 998 times. The company NATS are constantly working with airports and airlines to improve STAR and SIDs (Standard Arrival Routes, Standard Instrument Departures) to improve congestion and help to manage the noise and pollution implications over the UK. There is currently a trial in Stanstead of a different departure routing and EasyJet have recently changed their departure route at Gatwick to avoid overflying local villages.”

So this leads to the immediate question, just how bad is air traffic around airports as compared to other regions in the UK? Is it possible to map routes and count flights per local authority?

This is where Paul’s friends at and my developing Alteryx skills start to bear fruit. The guys at PlaneFinder who track the location of flights around the world gave us API access, Alteryx server was setup to grab the API data every minute and then geotag each plane based on its location over the UK. The data is then brought into Tableau and the results can be seen below. Click the screenshot to explore the viz:

UK Air Traffic

So what did I find out? Well it turns out my hometown of York is underneath the quietest skies in the UK, you could call it the eye of the storm. It’s no surprise that the local authorities in the south of England which contain Heathrow, Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick are the busiest but the areas to the North West of London are also very crowded thanks to the flight corridor to these airports and to the rest of Europe.

Want to explore the data further? Select a date in the top left & select an area on the map.

This post was originally posted on Tableau Public

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Chris Mace <![CDATA[Pareto Charts in Tableau]]> 2014-08-27T17:38:54Z 2014-08-27T17:38:54Z “A Pareto chart, named after Vilfredo Pareto, is […]

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“A Pareto chart, named after Vilfredo Pareto, is a type of chart that contains both bars and a line graph, where individual values are represented in descending order by bars, and the cumulative total is represented by the line.”  —- from Wikipedia


Recently I had to create one of these and found that I had to look in a lot of places to get what I was looking for so I hope this will help you if you need to create one.


To start off with you need to create a % of Total Sales field

I will use the default superstore data in Tableau so that you can try this yourself.

Double click on Sales

Double click on Customer Name

Then Sort the Customer name on the Columns shelf by SUM([Sales])

Make the Chart fit the width of your screen and you should have something like this.








Thats easy enough to get the first view of the bars but now we need to add in another line to show the cumalitive total.

Whilst holding down the CTRL key left click on the SUM([Sales]) on the Rows shelf and drag it the side so that you have two measures.


two versions








On the first Sales pill Right click and pick a Quick Table Calculation and Running Total

Right click on the same pill again and click on Edit Table Calculation

Tick the box to Perform a Secondary Calculation

Select Percent of Total


of total










Now click on the Customize button on the bottom left of the window, This will show what calculation is being done and you can also save this as a new Field.

Give it a name like % of Total Sales and click OK

You will come back to a smaller window with the table calculation for “% of Total Sales”

Click OK and you will see your first pill is not the SUM([Sales]) any more.

of Total Sales field




Next we need to turn the Customer Name field from Text into a Calculation

Right click on the Customer Name pill and select Measure and then Count (Distinct)

This will change your view to show just one point on each measure

Right click on CNTD(Customer Name) and pick a Quick Table Calculation and Running Total

Right click on the same pill again and click on Edit Table Calculation

Tick the box to Perform a Secondary Calculation and select Percent of Total

Click on the Customize button and save the calculation as a new field “% of Customers”

of Customers







Optional – You may wish to change the default number format for both % of Customers and % of Total Sales to be Zero decimal places but this is just a cosmetic point.


Bringing it together

Drag from the Dimensions shelf a new Customer Name field and drop it onto the Level of details on the All Marks Card

Right Click and Sort this field by the Sum of Sales

Now Right click on the % of Customers and click on Edit Table Calculations and pick the Customer Name in the Compute using drop down and click Apply and OK

You should have something like this

cust name







Next Right click on the % of Total Sales pill and do the same

cust name sales








Make the Chart into a Dual Axis by either Right clicking on the Sum of Sales axis and selecting Dual axis or Drag and drop the axis to the right hand side of the % of Total Sales section

On the Marks card I like to set the % of Total Sales to a line and the Sum of Sales to an area so that you have something like this

pareto chart








And there you go a basic Pareto Chart.


 You want more?

Ok I do like to play with my Parameters :)  and they do make this more interactive.

Right click on the % of Total Sales axis and add a Reference line

Create a new Parameter called “Target % of Sales” with a current value of 0.8
Target of Sales








Now to see where this crosses the % of Customers we need to create a calculated field

Right click on the % of Total Sales in the Measures shelf and select create a calculated field

Name the field Target Cross Point and use the following formula

If [% of Total Sales]<[Target % of Sales] Then [% of Customers] Else NULL END

Change the default number format to be a %

Then drag it onto the details marks card

Right Click on the % of Customers axis and add a reference line using the Target Cross Point

Set the Aggregation to be Maximum and the Label to Value

You will now have a second reference line that crosses at the point where the the target line meets the % of Total Sales curve








By changing the Target you will change the crossing point


You want even more???

OK, only because I have the same question as you how to use this nice looking viz

To start with you need to duplicate the sheet you have just made (it just saves some time but you can do it manually)

Using the Show Me function select a Text Table

Drag the Target Cross Point measure field into the filter shelf

Click on the Special tab and select Non-null values

This will show you everyone that makes up the Target % of sales

If you set it to Null values then it will show you everyone after the Target % of Sales

I’ll set mine to 10% so you can see the values

text table







Join these together in a dashboard and you should have something like this

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Chris Love <![CDATA[Using Images in Tableau]]> 2014-08-20T22:33:18Z 2014-08-21T14:00:26Z There are several ways to add images to your Tableau re […]

The post Using Images in Tableau appeared first on The Information Lab.

There are several ways to add images to your Tableau reports, some more obvious than others, in this blog post I take a look at the options and explore their advantages and disadvantages and look at some examples of where I have used them in my own visualisations.

1. Using Tableau “Shape” marks

Overview: You can upload the photos into the \My Tableau Repository\Shapes folder (either into an existing folder or into a new one) and then display them on worksheets as marks. This is flexible in terms of usage and allows filtering, etc. However the system can be difficult to manage for large numbers of images, each shape needs to be assigned manually to a data value, one at a time within Tableau. It can be done automatically if the data and photos are ordered exactly the same (alphabetically) but beware, I have seen instances where this hasn’t worked due to special characters.

When publishing the report to the server there is also an additional complication that any new shapes need republishing with the report.

More information:

Creating and Utilising Custom Shapes –

Dealing with 718 Pokemon Shapes in Tableau –


– Most flexible approach – allows filters, actions, etc within Tableau

– Data driven


     – Updates are manual, relying on data ordering can lead to errors unless rigorous checks are made

– Size limits on photos, only suitable for small photos really

– Images need to be similar dimensions and sizes

– Requires republishing report to add shapes


In my Alteryx Samples Guide the icons were all individual pngs named differently from the data I had, I had a lookup between the two values in second file and so I used Alteryx to perform the lookup and rename my files automatically so I could use the ordering method of assigning the icons in the data.


2. Using Web Page objects in a dashboard in combination with a URL Action.

Overview: Tableau can call a URL specified in the dataset (or calculated from the data) via a URL action and change a web part in the dashboard accordingly. This can work well in some situations where the images are static, but if images are required to update over time the images will need to be added to the web and data at the same time, any URLs added without a corresponding image will result in an “image not found” error.

More Information:

Web Page objects on Tableau Dashboards –


– Data driven, no republishing to server needed

– Can support high resolution images


– The need to sync the data may be difficult

– Requires publishing to web / web server, security may be an issue if images are sensitive as no authentication to images possible within Tableau

– Image with vastly different sizes can be a problem


My colleague Tim Ngwena recently used this to great effect to show information on the artists he’s been listening to on Last.FM, I think it’s a beautiful viz –!/vizhome/MyMusicListeningHabitsV1/Intro


3.  Using Background Images

Overview: Charts can support background images, this is curiously hidden away on the Map menu (which makes some sense as a primary use is to support an image behind geographic data). Multiple images can be added and filtered based on criteria, this can offer a degree of flexibility in changing the image.

More Information:

Adding Background Images –

Finding Background Image Coordinates –

Background Image Training –


– Can support high resolution images

– Can be used as backgrounds to charts (removing axes and lines can create backgrounds for buttons etc)


– Not data driven

– Manual set up not suitable for large quantities of images

– Can be fiddly to set up with some manual tinkering needed to get backgrounds positioned nicely on chart (see medal in marathon viz below)


I made extensive use of this technique in my marathon scrapbook, the medal in the Finished tab was added as a background image to the map and then tweaked until the river matched as closely as possible to my route. The post-it notes on the Race tab are also floating worksheets utilising a background image, with a text mark to privide each text item (copied and filtered for each one).

The other post-its were simply text objects floated over regular Image objects (see Option 4 below).

4. Using Image Object on Dashboard

Of course the simplest option is simply to add the image directly to the dashboard using the Image Object.

More Information:

Adding a Dashboard  Logo –


– Can support high resolution images

– Suitable for logos, footers and other dashboard “bling”.


– Each object only suitable for single images

Example: There are examples on almost every viz but I recently used it to add some colour to my blending story.


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